NATIONAL Football Association of Zimbabwe (NAFAZ) president Phillip Chiyangwa has said the former Zifa workers’ plight is not his problem since they participated in plundering the dissolved association’s resources. BY KEVIN MAPASURE-NEWSDAY
The debt-ridden football mother body was dissolved on Saturday, which was followed by the birth of a new football supreme body in the country, NAFAZ.
Chiyangwa said the workers participated in mismanaging the organisation until it was on its knees so much so that it could not be revived.
He said the new organisation had started on a fresh page and would not tolerate Zifa’s problems at its doorstep.
“The Zifa employees and all those who were owed by that organisation are no longer my problem. That is the liquidator’s baby,” Chiyangwa said.
“I do not want to talk about the Zifa employees, but what is surprising about this whole thing is that these people kept on going to work for an organisation that they knew was dead and had no capacity to pay them. They were part of the problem. They participated in mismanaging that organisation. They plundered that organisation because I fail to understand the interest of someone in working when they are not paid. To be honest, in my view, those workers are dangerous. How were they surviving for such a long time?”
Chiyangwa said now that they had formed a new organisation, they would work without the weight of the Zifa debt on their backs.
He added that the debt was not their problem, suggesting that the individuals in the administration that accumulated the debt should be accountable.
“We left an organistaion that was insolvent. We did not create those debts. We did not want to be associated with those debts, and neither did we want to be bothered about anybody thinking we should have stuck with it. Those that left without paying the debts are the ones that should answer for those debts and there is a law for prosecuting those that plundered the association.”
He said they arrived at the decision to dissolve Zifa after realising the organisation could not carry on and it could not be revived.
“I went into office on December 5 and immediately took leave for South Africa since I had been diagnosed with thyroid infection and went to South Africa for further examination. During that time, I took time to reflect on the situation at Zifa and it became apparent to me that based on the financial situation, whatever needed to happen needed to happen pretty fast.”
He said he could not foresee the organisation being rescued from its financial predicament, particularly after he had discovered that the previous administration had misled everybody, including Fifa, about owning properties which it did not have any shares in.
“I had a look at the financials and discovered that they were misleading. They were not correct in the submissions. From 2010 everything had been inflated, amounts related to properties. The previous executive had misled everybody, including Fifa. They had presented to Fifa they owned properties, which were in the name of a private entity, which they had no share in,” he said.
The properties include Zifa Village and Zifa House, which housed the association’s headquarters, and a property in Kensington as well as another one in Bulawayo.
All the properties belong to Zifa (Private) Limited.
Chiyangwa said it was against this background that he presented the facts to the members who all agreed that the situation was unsustainable since the association could not fund any of its obligations and no one was willing to help with finances to offset the debt which was running to $6 million.
“We had consultations among our members and we concurred that the situation was untenable and we had to shut shop. Having sought legal advice, we went to Fifa and they overwhelmingly accepted our proposal to dissolve and form another organisation. (We) went to congress on (last) Saturday to present the accounts and then find a way forward. That is what our notice was. It was then put to the councillors whether they wanted to continue with that situation. We went to a vote and the decision was to dissolve Zifa,” Chiyangwa said.
NAFAZ had adopted a constitution the day before, and after elections on Saturday, they have started the ball rolling.
The board consists of 12 members, who include two vice-presidents Peter Dube and Omega Sibanda, while the regional chairpersons have also been roped in.
They hope to acquire their own properties to house the headquarters, currently lodging at Chiyangwa’s private office building along Enterprise Road in Harare.
Kenny Ndebele, who will double as both NAFAZ and Premier Soccer League secretary-general, has since started work at the football motherbody.
Chiyangwa said he was not bothered about talk from outside since he had already proved to be a good administrator.
“I am the most successful administrator since Independence. My Mighty Warriors have qualified for Rio 2016 Olympics, the men are going to Afcon and they qualified with a match to spare. So, at the new organisation, we are just focusing on working for the good of football and we will not listen to negative sentiments about what we are doing. All the members are happy and Fifa is happy.”